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Bookfest St. Louis opens in CWE Thursday

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink For Children Shop News  The McPherson Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Gabriel Tallent BookFest St. Louis Amy Stewart   How you fill your dance card for this week’s inaugural BookFest St. Louis is your call, but a word to the wise, start plotting now for which authors you want to see, what panels you want to attend, and absolutely schedule time for kids’ events and the dedication of the new William Burroughs statue at Writer’s Corner (McPherson & Euclid) this Saturday, September 23, at 6 p.m.

Bookfest St. Louis is a collaboration between Left Bank Books and CWE Business Community Improvement District. The staffs of both the bookstore and the NCID have spent months putting the weekend’s events together. There are spreadsheets galore and organizers’ brains stuffed with information about arrival and departure schedules for dozens of participating authors, neighborhood venues where the events will occur, and lists of volunteers who have offered to lend a hand.

All events (here is schedule), other than the appearances of authors Sherman Alexie and Amy Stewart, are non-ticketed events, so it’s first-come, first served. Check out Page 4 on the schedule for a concise chart of events and locations.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink For Children Shop News  The McPherson Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Gabriel Tallent BookFest St. Louis Amy Stewart

Mary Engelbreit photographed for St. Louis Magazine

Expect a crush of Mary Engelbreit admirers to attend the BookFest’s kick-off event Thursday, September 21, starting at 6 p.m. The artist will be at the Schlafly Library, 225 N. Euclid, for a reception and conversation with Left Bank Books’ proprietor Kris Kleindienst to discuss Mary Engelbreit From the Archives, a monthlong exhibit of Engelbreit’s rarely seen early work and ephemera from Left Bank Books’ collection. A book signing for the Engelbreit’s latest, The Bedtime Book, will follow. The exhibition remains on view until September 29.

Here is a recent video showing KSDK’s Dana Dean interview with Mary Engelbreit and Kris Kleindienst on Show Me St. Louis.Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink For Children Shop News  The McPherson Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Gabriel Tallent BookFest St. Louis Amy Stewart   Photo courtesy of Lee Towndrow, Little, Brown

The weekend’s opening event is a special one, “An Evening with Sherman Alexie,” which takes place Friday, September 22, at The Sheldon in Grand Center, the only BookFest event that occurs outside the immediate neighborhood.

The appearance by National Book Award recipient Sherman Alexie is a coup for BookFest St. Louis. After the recent publication of  his memoir, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” the acclaimed poet, short story writer, novelist and performer cancelled most appearances on his book tour due to exhaustion. But he has kept BookFest on his schedule (the author is also participating in a Young Adult Panel at The McPherson Saturday at noon). Here is an interview with Alexie conducted by reporter Stefene Russell in the 9/13/17 issue of St. Louis Magazine.

A $40 general admission ticket admits one person to Friday’s keynote event and includes a hardcover copy of “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.” A $75 VIP ticket admits one person to the keynote event, includes a signed copy of “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” and a 10th Anniversary edition of National Book Award-classic “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” plus a Meet & Greet book signing with Sherman Alexie. (Please note: VIP tickets are now SOLD OUT.) Purchase general admission tickets at TheSheldon.org.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink For Children Shop News  The McPherson Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Gabriel Tallent BookFest St. Louis Amy Stewart

On Saturday fans of Amy Stewart’s Miss Kopp’s series will have a chance to have tea with the author at Mary Ann’s Tearoom, 4732 McPherson, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Tickets for Miss Kopp’s High Tea are $70 per person and include an exclusive presentation and book signing by Stewart, a hardcover copy of “Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions,” a speciality cocktail inspired by the book and full-service high tea, with tea, scones with jam, sandwiches and dessert. To view the menu and to make a reservation, look here.

In addition, The Central West End will complete the Writers’ Corner project at Euclid and McPherson with the installation of a William Burroughs sculpture with a dedication ceremony at Left Bank Books on Saturday at 6 p.m. The completion is being funded by The Central West End Association and the Community Improvement District North.

From the press release:

“The Burroughs bust, by local artist Vlad Zhitomirsky, stylistically celebrates the Beat Generation author’s flair for the disjointed and bizarre, which can be found in his well-known works including ‘Naked Lunch,’ ‘Queer’ and ‘Junky.'”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink For Children Shop News  The McPherson Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Gabriel Tallent BookFest St. Louis Amy Stewart

You may have noticed that the sidewalk next to Pi is being repaved today in preparation for Saturday’s dedication. What’s happening is that T. S. Eliott, above right, is being moved from Left Bank Books to Pi, above left, and William Burroughs, who had a longtime connection to Left Bank Books will “reside” next to the neighborhood bookstore.

There are so many fabulous events on the schedule that I encourage you to visit the website and check them out for yourself. Here is a very small sampling:

Children’s Storytime at 10:30 followed by Middle Readers Meet & Greet at 11 (authors Treton Lee Stewart and Kat Zhang) at Schlafly Library Saturday.

Memoir Panel at 3:30 Saturday at 510 N. Euclid featuring George Hodgman (Bettyville), WU’s Kathleen Finneran (The Tender Land), and Ann Edelstein (Lifesaving for Beginners).

“A Special Trust” – Remembering Patricia & Fred McKissack honoring beloved St. Louis children’s authors takes place at Left Bank Books at 7 p.m.

Literary Fiction Panel II at 3 p.m. at The McPherson, featuring debut novelist Gabriel Tallent (My Absolute Darling), Shanthi Sekaran (Lucky Boy), Whitney Terrell (The Good Lieutenant).

Prufrock & Other Observations at Dressel’s Pub at 8 p.m. Saturday Celebrate 100th anniversary of St. Louis poet T. S. Eliot’s Prufrock, etc. with an intimate performance by a diverse coalition of St. Louis’s best poets.

Wait there’s more! Approximately 26 vendors and literary organizations will participate in The Festival Zone along McPherson east of Euclid (which will be blocked off to traffic as far east as The Vino Gallery) from 11 to 5 on Saturday. There will be live music, demonstrations, rare book sellers, local artisans and more. Some neighboring restaurants will be selling food and beverages at outside tables.

I also want to acknowledge the CWE venues who have agreed to host events: The McPherson (the recently-opened event venue), Mary Ann’s Tearoom, Schlafly Library, The Vino Gallery, 510 N. Euclid (formerly The Improv Shop), Llywelyn’s, Brennan’s, Gamlin Whiskey House, Dressel’s Pub, and Left Bank Books. Here once again is the schedule of events for Bookfest St. Louis.

Parking is free on The McPherson lot which will be accessible from Taylor west on McPherson. Paid parking is available on the Euclid lot which many of us still call the Herbie’s lot, just north of McPherson. Other streets will remain open during BookFest St. Louis, so metered parking is available too. McPherson will be closed from Euclid to The Vino Gallery at Walton Row.

Preparing for the solar eclipse

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings For Children  The Eclipser Safe Solar Glasses Saint Louis Science Ceneter Left Bank Books

If you haven’t picked up safety glasses to view the solar eclipse next Monday, August 21st, Left Bank Books has a supply of  The Eclipser Safe Solar Glasses, $3.99.

In conjunction with what the Saint Louis Science Center is calling ” an astronomical event 575 years in the making,” there is a series of events planned for next Saturday and Sunday. In the meantime, you can track the path of the solar eclipse as it passes over St. Louis on a map which shows the start of the event at 11:40 a.m. with a partial eclipse visible at 1:18 p.m.

Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid, (314) 367-6731, Mon. – Sat. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Snapshots from 2017’s National Night Out

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings For Children Services  Mounted Patrol Mayor Lyda Krewson Jim Whyte Jay Scheinman CWE NSI Alderman Heather Navarro

The annual National Night Out events afford an opportunity for residents to thank the police for all they do to serve the community, and at the same time offer the officers a chance to socialize with the residents in a relaxed setting.

An added bonus to last Tuesday’s event at the CWE Neighborhood Security Initiative office, 447 N. Euclid, was that Mayor Lyda Krewson scheduled a stop for the first of her visits to 6 other National Night Out happenings across the city. With the mayor in the photograph above are from left, Officer Joe Morici, Sergeant John McLoughlin (in blue shirt), and far right, Lyndon Cornell, the NSI’s Camera Project Manager.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings For Children Services  Mounted Patrol Mayor Lyda Krewson Jim Whyte Jay Scheinman CWE NSI Alderman Heather Navarro

The mayor found a moment of calm visiting with majestic Vader, above. SLMPD Mounted Police Officer Paula Brant is shown riding Vader. Partially visible behind Officer Brant is Forest Park Ranger Sergeant David Leifheit.

Heather Navarro, recently sworn in as alderman of the 28th Ward, stopped by after I had departed, so there isn’t a photo of her here. If you haven’t seen the July 28th issue of the West End Word, here is Don Corrigan’s excellent in-depth article titled: getting to know Heather Navarro.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings For Children Services  Mounted Patrol Mayor Lyda Krewson Jim Whyte Jay Scheinman CWE NSI Alderman Heather Navarro

Jess Batchelor, director of the Central West End Association, right, is shown with Jonny Griese and Faith Griese, left, Assistant Pros at Dwight Davis Tennis Center. Batchelor is also director of Tennis Development at Dwight Davis where she raises funds and runs outreach programs that benefit inner city youth and wheelchair athletes. The trio, who brought along a net, kid-size rackets and low compression tennis balls are shown warming up before pint-size attendees joined in.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings For Children Services  Mounted Patrol Mayor Lyda Krewson Jim Whyte Jay Scheinman CWE NSI Alderman Heather Navarro

By the time the event drew to a close around 7 p.m., 40 to 50 people had stopped by. Among the attendees were from left, 17th Ward Alderman Joe Roddy, and Jim Whyte, Executive Director of the CWE NSI (in red shirt). Also photographed is Jay Scheinman, in blue shirt right, Mayor Krewson’s liaison to the Board of Alderman.

Thanks to the staff of the CWE NSI office, Jim Whyte, Sarah Wickenhauser, and Carolyn Compton, for hosting the event and for treating everyone to Ted Drewes.